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2 Great Weeks in the Life of EdgeX Foundry

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By Keith Steele, Chair of the EdgeX Foundry TSC

I wrote this blog on a train from Edinburgh back to my home town in Newcastle UK, ending two weeks of spirited activity for the EdgeX community. On October 15-17, we gathered in Barcelona for IOT World Solutions Congress and then we met in Edinburgh for our bi-annual Technical Steering Committee (TSC) meeting.

Both weeks were by hugely successful for the project with some major milestones achieved, market momentum demonstrated and collaboration that solidified plans for our impressive roadmap, which agreed for the next EdgeX release in April.

Most striking of all, however is the growing ecosystem of contributors driving the project forward, their talent, enthusiasm and unselfish collaboration. It was just a pleasure to witness and a lot of fun – I’ll never quite forget the gradual rise in volume in the room as we progressed through the Scotch Whiskey tasting with the TSC!

Anyway, I digress, let’s start this blog in Barcelona, or for some of us Toulouse! The IOTech team had a slight travel diversion due to storms and ended up in nice Southwestern French city, but didn’t get to explore. Undeterred, the team developed an alternate travel route and finally showed up in Barcelona to see the EdgeX Foundry booth ready and looking sharp with the new community demo as a nice focal point.

The New Community Demo

EdgeX Foundry’s new community demo set out to demonstrate the full capability of EdgeX in the context of a realistic use case, we chose Buildings Automation but it could have been any edge vertical. When we say the full capability of EdgeX we mean:

  • Multi vendor, multi protocol southbound connectivity and data interoperability – the demo has over a dozen different connected devices seamlessly interoperating through EdgeX using standard connectivity software!
  • Hardware independence – the demo has three gateways from three different vendors hosting EdgeX, demonstrating its distributed microservice capability
  • Silicon provider independence – three Gateways, three different chip sets; 32 and 64 bit ARM and 64 bit Intel
  • Application plug and play – standard Microservice API’s enabled easy replacement of the EdgeX rules engine reference implementation with NodeRED to demo Edge analytics capability
  • Local Edge Control – the demo is not just about collecting data, it shows full the full command capability of EdgeX
  • Connect to any Cloud – the demo shows connectivity to AWS but this could just as easily have been Azure, Google, or any cloud
  • Interaction with Cloud Applications – in this case, we showcased higher level Energy Management and Space optimization software interacting with the Edge system but with flow of data filtered and optimized to cut expensive cloud data usage costs!

If you weren’t at the show, you’ll be able to see a video of it soon. In the meantime, James Butcher, Senior Solutions Architect at IOTech, shares the details of how the demo came together in this blog post.

So, how was it all received?

I say without hesitation this was a great show for EdgeX (and I say this as someone who usually regards trade shows as only marginally more useful than a Celine Dion tribute act).

The EdgeX Foundry stand was continuously busy – attendees came to see the community demo and meet with EdgeX members Basking Automation, CloudPlugs, Dell, Enigmedia, IOTech, and Mainflux as well as Redis Labs, RSA, VMware and ZEDEDA with their own presence demonstrating their integration with EdgeX.

At the show, we announced Intel and eight other tech influencers joined the project and there was huge interest for this and the new EdgeX dev kits at the show. Jason Shepherd, Chair of the EdgeX Foundry Governing Board, and I were busy briefing customers, analysts and media, while traffic to the booth was heavy and constant. James, one of the people manning the community demonstrator only managed lunch at 4pm the 1st day of the show!

My own takeaways

Barcelona, for me, proved without a shadow of doubt an open approach at the Edge is now a well-established need and EdgeX is regarded as the leading open implementation.

The vendor neutral approach is the clear driver, the Edge is by its nature a very heterogeneous and users want a solution that is designed to support that heterogeneity rather than a proprietary solution that locks them in to a specific vendor.

The flexibility of choice of cloud and hardware providers were big winners with visitors to the EdgeX booth. Some of the bigger users are hedging their bets with dual approaches, but there was evidence from the many vendors visiting the booth that they recognized they were going to have to support EdgeX.

Another big motivator was an open approach as a basis for bringing together the 6-10 vendors/technology partners typically required to deliver an end to end IOT solution using EdgeX as an integration point allowing vendors to keep their proprietary value add while collaborating across a standard and open infrastructure. Interesting times!

On to Edinburgh for the EdgeX Technical Steering Committee meeting.

Good to see the numbers growing with 40-50 people attending across the 3 days of the meeting, again from all corners of the globe. Nice to also to see many new faces from Intel, Siemens, Thales, Analog Devices, Canonical, Dell, ForgeRock, Intel, IOTech, Mainflux, Redis Labs, Samsung Electronics, Siemens AG, Technische Universität Berlin, University of Edinburgh, VMware, and Wanxiang Group.

The main meeting discussion topics were the roadmap for the next release, called ‘Edinburgh’ (scheduled for release in April 2019) and the status of the Delhi release, which we just announced the code freeze with release in mid-November.

The Delhi release is a very important milestone for EdgeX as the core services have now all been refactored in Go and C providing a big improvement in performance, footprint and scalability.

A dot release to Delhi is going to be released in December to provide Redis as the underlying database option (in place of MongoDB) for several services including Core Data, Core Metadata and Export Client.  This work will be even more of a focus for Edinburgh where the easy replacement and swap of databases that support EdgeX is desired.

In parallel to the formal Delhi release of EdgeX, several community developer kits will also be made available, the first based on the Samsung Pi and Artik developer boards (link). The dev kits will go a long way to onboarding future EdgeX developers and improving developer onboarding will be a key priority for the TSC this year.

Here’s a short list of what was scoped for the Edinburgh release:

  • Support for binary data to be processed by EdgeX for the first time to allow for carrying video images, audio data, and the like.
  • Implementation (initial) of Application Services, an eventual replacement for Export Services, will be more scalable and functionally driven microservices for getting data from EdgeX to other systems and applications.
  • Definition for how EdgeX will operate on top of hardware root of trust systems and take advantage of the secure storage with an abstraction layer
  • Performance targets for EdgeX are already being hit, but performance testing as part of the continuous integration and release process.
  • Building better abstraction and separation of concerns around persistence for the services using a database (MongoDB today) in order to allow easy replacement of the database in the future.
  • Implementing the next wave of system management features to include providing more service metrics and offering EdgeX metrics, configuration and status information via additional control plane protocols (such as LWM2M, SNMP, etc.).
  • Adding a plethora of Device Services (DS) for various protocols given the new DS SDKs in Go and C.

Look for a future post by Jim White, our EdgeX Foundry Vice Chair of the TSC, to provide more details on the upcoming April 2019 release.

A few other points of notes from the meeting

We agreed it was time to have a release manager to oversee the bi-annual EdgeX releases and this task would be undertaken by the major contributors. Ideally, we’d rotate ownership of this task and it would be a good way forward with potentially 4-member companies taking it in turns by rotation. A call will be set up shortly to discuss this process and move forward with it.

The DevOps and QA/Test Working Groups will, for the next few months, run combined calls given the close cooperation needed and the focus in the EdgeX Edinburgh release on incorporating automated performance and scalability tests as part of the overnight runs. Look out for the new time for these meetings shortly.

Now the C and the GO SDK’s are available a big part of the Device and DeviceSDK Working Group’s work will now switch to acceleration and collaboration around accelerating new Device Service connectivity. This is obviously seen as key to widespread deployment of EdgeX going forward.

As mentioned, we had to have a little bit of fun while in Edinburgh. There’s nothing quite like Scotch Whiskey tasting in Edinburgh.

 

 

Remember, if you can’t make the meetings you can join by phone and the recordings of the meeting can be found here.

The next F2F TSC meeting will be hosted in Seoul, South Korea on April 22 -25.2019. You can register here and find more information is available on the EdgeX Wiki.

It was also announced the October 2019 meeting will take place at Intel’s facility in Chandler Arizona. We look forward to collaborating with you there!!

Finally, a couple of thank you notes, the first one to Jeremy Phelps, who is stepping down as chair from the DevOps Working Group, Jeremy’s enthusiasm, skill and effort levels have been just stellar and he will be a hard act to follow!

Lastly, thanks to the team at the Linux Foundation for their massive efforts in bringing both Barcelona and Edinburgh to fruition with professionalism and untold patience having to deal with me. Maybe next time, we all get an Octopus T-shirt!

Best Regards,

Keith Steele, TSC Chair

If you have questions or comments, visit the EdgeX Rocket.Chat and share your thoughts in the #community channel.

Seeding an Open Marketplace for IoT Edge Computing

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Guest post by Jason Shepherd, EdgeX Foundry Chair of the Governing Board and Dell IoT and Edge Computing CTO

Hello Members and Friends of the EdgeX Community,

I hope you’ve had a great summer with friends and family. As we head into some big project announcements at IoT Solutions World Congress (SWC) in Barcelona from October 16-18, I wanted to take the opportunity to make sure you’re aware about a few member opportunities.

First, a quick update on the project momentum. We’re seeing a big ramp in the number of unique code contributors on the heels of the switch to Go Lang for the baseline reference implementation in our recent ‘California’ release. We’re now approaching 70 as of this month. Net-net, more and more people by the day are seeing the benefits of our approach to facilitating greater interoperability at the IoT edge!

As a result, some very large names will be announced as new project members at IoT SWC on October 16. We see many more on the horizon as the word continues to spread and the community meets commitments on delivering a high quality foundation to facilitate interoperability across the complex IoT landscape.

The community has chosen to organize around an October/April semi-annual release cadence, so the Delhi runway is a little shorter. Still, we’re going to see some major enhancements including the first management features, more security enhancements, C and Go Lang-based Device Service SDKs and a reference GUI for demos and simple deployments.

The latest project overview deck including more on progress to date and where we’re headed can be found here.

Other big news at IoT SWC will be the impending release of Delhi code, the launch of our community demonstrator to showcase the value of the project and enable future plug-fests and hackathons, EdgeX developer kits and more Vertical Solution Working Groups (VSWGs). I’ll focus on the latter two for the rest of this project update.

EdgeX-enabled Dev kits

The IoT journey often starts with an aspirational view seeded through a simple PoC to work through architectural and business model considerations before scaling up into deployment. Low-cost developer (dev) kits comprised of a board, collection of pre-integrated sensors and integration with an IoT platform stack are great tools to enable software developers to quickly prototype their ideas with a “fail fast” mentality.

However, the plethora of dev kits out there typically lock the developer into a particular backend platform or cloud. In comparison, kits based on the EdgeX Foundry framework will provide developers with complete freedom of choice, backed by the vendor-neutral EdgeX APIs that bind together choice of devices and applications regardless of protocol, OS, or underlying hardware used.

These dev kits and associated plug-in value-add will give developers confidence that they can prototype with their choice of ingredients while taking advantage of plug-in components from the growing EdgeX ecosystem. And perhaps more importantly, they’ll be able to readily swap out elements later as they optimize their solution and ramp into production and day to day operation.

In all cases these EdgeX dev kits will enable developers to innovate rather than reinvent. The following is a high-level summary of benefits specific to two key personas:

Benefits for end-user developers:

  • Get started developing your IoT solution at a low cost of entry while maximizing options from edge to cloud and minimizing potential for vendor lock-in
  • Facilitate integration and build/buy/partner decisions by tapping into the open ecosystem
  • Have confidence that the foundation of your PoC efforts has staying power due to backing from a growing, vendor-neutral community

Benefits to developers with IoT ecosystem providers (e.g. Device Makers, OEMs, ISVs, SIs):

  • Realize drag from end-user developers earlier in their PoC efforts without having to support myriad custom integrations with your commercial offerings
  • Grow your business faster via the network effect stemming from an open ecosystem with transparent and trusted security and manageability
  • Influence the development of an open commercial marketplace for EdgeX-certified components

More detail can be found in the overview deck. As highlighted, there will be community and commercial tracks for the dev kits. For options in the community track the bill of materials will be purchased independently online, code downloaded straight from a special repository on the project GitHub and questions answered through forums like the EdgeX Rocket Chat. We’re going to start small here and let the open source contributions grow organically.

The commercial track will provide EdgeX members with the ability to seed the emergence of an open marketplace for IoT edge computing. In turn, this will afford end users with attractive options to get started with professional support so they can focus on their preferred value-add instead of working with open source code.

The dev kit program will also help shape the definition of the formal certification program within the EdgeX project targeted for launch with the ‘Edinburgh’ code release in April 2019.  This program will enable anyone to certify that their proprietary offer is “EdgeX-compliant” based on following the specified set of interoperability APIs in Core Services regardless of additional IP added.

 

This is why the project is called “EdgeX Foundry” instead of the obvious “Edge Foundry” – the “X” allows the name to be trademarked. Imagine that “X” on your website which gives your customers comfort that you’re part of a broader, interoperable and trusted ecosystem. Stay tuned for more on this front and we welcome you to get involved in the certification planning working group!

Getting back to the dev kits, there will be several options available to you as a Technology or Services provider in the commercial track:

  1. “Core”: Offered by a provider who’s supporting the baseline EdgeX framework in a ‘Red Hat’ model while ultimately being completely neutral to all value-add such as hardware, OS, connected devices, analytics, security enhancements, platform, cloud, etc.
  2. “Platform”: A kit linked to a specific IoT software platform or cloud, enabling the customer to dive right in with your offer while still being able to take advantage of the ecosystem of plug-in EdgeX value-add
  3. “Plug-in”: Discrete plug-in value-add for devices/sensors, analytics, database, security, management, etc.

The benefit here is the network effect, for example if you offer an IoT platform you don’t need to support the baseline open source EdgeX framework if you don’t want to. Instead, you could partner with a “Core” commercial dev kit provider and simply support an Application microservice for your platform that complies with the APIs in Core Services while leveraging the communication protocol of your choice (standard or proprietary).  In another example, you might be a sensor maker who only supports Device Services in your chosen protocol and programming language (plugging into others’ “Core” and “Platform” dev kits), and so forth.

In order to participate in the dev kit program simply get going with the EdgeX code to develop your offer, establish your preferred commercial terms and contact pr@edgexfoundry.org to let the Linux Foundation team know your plans no later than October 5 if you want to be included in the IoT SWC press release.  More information will be available publicly closer to the announcement.

Note that we’re limiting the benefit of advertisement of commercial dev kit offers through official EdgeX channels to EdgeX project members at this time in order to limit scope while we perfect the process. This ultimately leads to an open commercial marketplace, so get in early and ride the wave!

Vertical Solution Working Groups

The Vertical Solution Working Groups (VSWGs, led by Samsung) are an important function within the EdgeX Foundry project.  We’ve had groups for Smart Factory (Samsung) and Oil and Gas (NOV) for some time to work through the process and are now ready to start ramping more groups to accelerate the strong foundation we’ve built to date. The VSWGs serve several important purposes:

  • Developing unique requirements and code contributions for their respective markets
  • Feeding requirements back into the EdgeX core working groups to optimize the baseline framework to be suitable for as many use cases as feasible spanning Industrial to Enterprise to Consumer, including B2B2C crossover in the domains of retail, healthcare, insurance, utilities, etc.  After all, the true promise of IoT is bringing together a system of systems, and what better way to span private and public domains than an open interoperability framework!

We welcome any member to volunteer to lead a new VSWG or join one already in flight. It’s a great way to demonstrate thought leadership while making sure the EdgeX foundation has the right features and specific extensions for the verticals and use cases that matter the most to you.

We’ve talked with members that are considering working groups around Buildings, Retail, Transportation, Healthcare, Smart Cities and Smart Homes so if any of these areas or others interest you, join on in, or create one for another domain! It’s a low time commitment to help speed up time to revenue in your respective space, not to mention learn from and influence others focused on the same space through open, vendor-neutral collaboration.

To learn more or start a new VSWG please email EdgeX-TSC-Vertical-Solutions@lists.edgexfoundry.org.

Exciting times ahead!

In closing, we have a lot of great things going on as a community just 16 short months since we launched the project, and we’re just scratching the surface of the opportunity ahead. Our future is bright, let’s really put on the gas as we head into the tail end of 2018!

Regards,

Jason Shepherd

Chair of the Board, EdgeX Foundry

Part 2: The Evolution of EdgeX’s User Interface

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Written by Vinoyang, EdgeX Foundry Technical Contributor and Tencent Big Data Engineer

This is the second part of the EdgeX User Interface blog. The first part of the blog focused on the work that was recently completed. You can read part 1 here. This blog will detail where we are now and where we’re headed with the next code release, named Delhi, later this year.

This blog will be divided into several sections:

1. Prepare for the participation of the community;

As mentioned earlier, the structure of the project is standardized, the details of the README file are enriched, the Make file is provided to improve the ease of use of the project, and the ongoing integration is to verify the validity of the community PR, etc..  All of this work helps insure we are ready to accept contributions from the EdgeX community.

Regarding continuous integration, I have been communicating with Jeremy Phelps of EdgeX Foundry’s DevOps working group. As with all of EdgeX, we hope to use Jenkins as the continuous integration tool for the new UI as well. In addition, we will integrate code quality inspection tools to protect the edgex-ui-go code quality.

2. Persist the data to the database and lay the foundation for subsequent database switching

As mentioned above, the data storage method implemented by edgex-ui-go is simple and a bit crude. It caches data in memory. As we all know, memory is volatile, and once power is lost, all data will be lost. Therefore, we must provide data persistence capabilities for the edgex-ui-go. We hope that the logic of edgex-ui-go maintains a loosely coupled relationship with its database, which will allow edgex-ui-go to switch between different databases according to user needs. So we implemented a data access interface (DAO for existing domain objects), and those who have worked on Java Web development should be familiar with this design pattern. Currently, I am developing a DAO implementation that interfaces with the  MongoDB database.

3. Using a classic three-tier architecture for the web backend

“Control/service/dao” is a classic three-tier architecture for Web backends. Its advantage is to implement a layered structure. We are also refactoring the code to use this design pattern.

4.  Reliable login verification

As we all know, security is a big problem that the Internet of Things faces. EdgeX Foundry also believes security is important. The TSC F2F conference in early June focused on security issues. The Edgex UI landing page may be one of the first and most critical interfaces for users to interact with EdgeX. So, we have to make sure that edgex-ui-go has a logical login authentication function.  I will be working with David Ferriera, chair of the Edgex Security Working Group to select and use one of multiple alternatives to provide user authentication.

5. Integration testing with the GoLang version of the microservices released by EdgeX California

The California version of EdgeX has been released.  The entire EdgeX Foundry community is excited, because this is the first version of EdgeX based on GoLang implementation (I was fortunate to have been a big participant in the development of the first version of EdgeX in GoLang). edgeX-ui-go is currently integrated to the old Java version of the EdgeX microservice. In this next refactoring effort , we are integrating and testing edgex-ui-go with the GoLang microservices. This will help improve consistency, integrity, stability and availability of the entire EdgeX ecosystem in GoLang.

6. Build a Docker image of edgex-ui-go

As with all EdgeX microservices, we need to containerize the edgex-ui-go for easy of deployment.  However, this is a lesser priority in our current work.

7. Fix some remaining bugs

At present, most of the base UI is working, but there are a few bugs to fix.  For example, the device profile cannot be upload as required, but we are working to solve these issues.

The EdgeX UI as part of the Delhi Release and Future Work

So what’s the plan for formally releasing the new UI?  The current work – and all the refactoring, is expected to be released with the Delhi Release of EdgeX (October 2018).

Beyond the current release there is more work to complete.  First, we want to push the front end of edgex-ui-go. At present, the front end of edgex-ui-go can be said to be very rudimentary, and data visualization capabilities are very limited. Currently I am researching and experimenting with an open source and powerful admin template named gentelella. Here is an example of the type of data visualization that gentelella can produce.

The reasons for using this type of UI tool are as follows:

  •      A feature-rich, elegant interface UI that will give user a good first impression of edgex
  •      Easy to use; which is important in a community were very few community members have professional front-end development experience, and most people only have experience in developing back-end languages
  •      A popular template capability that can save a lot of front-end workload, such as interface layout, settings, components (such as login, table, forms, uploads, downloads, etc.), and is created by many people with professional experience

We also hope to add support for more management and visualization of EdgeX itself. At present, edgex-ui-go provides only simple support of device onboarding, export client registration, rule configuration and other functions.  We hope to provide more and improved management capabilities to include better metadata management, scheduler management, log viewing, and more. At the same time, we expect to collect more EdgeX user needs for monitoring and visualization and incorporate those needs into future implementations.

Edgex-ui-go is part of the community effort. If you want to participate in EdgeX UI development, we welcome your comments, suggestions, bug fixes, code contributions and reviews. Find out more on our wiki page here

Or, you can visit EdgeX Rocket.Chat and share your thoughts in the #community channel.

Part 1: The Evolution of EdgeX’s User Interface

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Written by Vinoyang, EdgeX Technical Contributor and Tencent Big Data Engineer

This is a two-part blog that introduces a User Interface project in the incubation area of the EdgeX Foundry. This first blog post will disclose some of the work that was recently completed. The second blog will detail the latest developments and plans for this UI project in the future.

edgex-ui-go Refactoring

First, I’d like to thank Huaqiao Zhang from VMware for providing a Java version of the implementation of EdgeX UI. This was a huge milestone as it provided EdgeX with its first user interface:

Based on discussions with him, we decided to follow the EdgeX Foundry direction and use GoLang for the backend EdgeX UI’s operations. This  allows it to more easily operate in more resource constrained IoT edge environments. In fact, Huaqiao recently completed work on an initial GoLang implementation. A screenshot from Github of the initial Go implementation is below.

This version basically matches the capabilities provided by the original Java version. After he provided the initial version, I made a holistic and comprehensive review of the entire project. There were some areas for improvement with the initial version and work that needed be done before the work is ready to be accepted by the community. Here is a list of the improvements that needed to be made:

  • The overall layout and directory structure of this project is not a general practice of GoLang
  • There are common project code normative issues: such as hard-coded, annotated code, inconsistent code format, etc.
  • The project’s README file does not have a detailed description of the project, such as installation, deployment, compilation, and operation instructions
  • Mixed use of console printing and logging
  • Relevant information is stored in memory (volatile storage) and does not provide a database-based implementation
  • Missing a real login verification implementation
  • Lack of continuous integration to support validation of PR validity

Much of the work came from the fact that we first concentrated on simply converting the Java version to GoLang version.  As with much of the EdgeX development team, Huaqiao has just begun to learn the Go language and there was also work to do in order to bring the code into alignment with standard Go idioms, design and practices.

Overall, we corrected more than 25 issues (there are still more than 15 issues that are not outstanding). Now the code base looks like this:

Importantly, we also worked to simplify the getting, building and running of the new UI.  Now even a new EdgeX UI user, one who is completely unfamiliar with GoLang, can run a local version of EdgeX-UI by using a series of make commands.

This simplicity was not there in the initial version.

This blog focused on providing a version of the Golang implementation for edgex-ui and refactoring it so that it matches the functionality of the original Java version but looks more like a Golang project. We’ve made significant progress but the work isn’t over yet. In part 2 of this article, which will post next week, I’ll  introduce where we are now and where we’re headed with the next code release named Delhi later this year.

If you have questions or comments, visit the EdgeX Rocket.Chat and share your thoughts in the #community channel.

Spreading EdgeX Foundry News in Asia

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Written by Jim White, Vice Chair of the Technical Steering Committee and Distinguished Engineer and Project Lead of the IoT Platform Development Team within Dell Technologies IoT Solutions Division

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been traveling to China and Japan to attend the LinuxCon/Container Con/CloudOpen (LC3) conference in China as well as IoT meetups for EdgeX Foundry in Beijing and Tokyo.

As the name of the LC3 implies, it was actually 3 conferences in one and thus a full venue of keynotes, sessions and events spread over 3 days.  I was impressed by the overall scope and attendance of the conference. While there was a predominance of Chinese companies and speakers as one would expect, this was a global event with attendees and speakers flying into Beijing from all over the world.

Speaking at the LC3 show were the likes of Linus Torvalds, Chris Aniszczyk (Cloud Native Computing Foundation – CNCF COO), Abby Kearns (Cloud Foundry Foundation Executive Director), Dan Kohn (CNCF Executive Director), and Alan Clark (director for openMainframe and member of the CTO office at SUSE).  I presented a talk to around 50 attendees about using a microservice architecture to address the needs of edge computing – using EdgeX Foundry as an example. You can view the presentation here.

In addition to my talk on microservices and EdgeX, there were 11 talks over the three days in the IoT & M2M track.  A few of the ones I found interesting were:

Tiejun and his team are doing great work on all sorts of IoT-related matters.  I had a chance to visit with them at the VMware Beijing office and got to see one of his experimental robots using EdgeX!

Tiejun also played an integral role in orchestrating an EdgeX Foundry Meetup to occur simultaneously with LC3 – giving even more awareness to EdgeX in China.  Around 40-45 people showed up at the Meetup to hear a great roster of speakers share their experiences with our open source project and EdgeX Foundry member The Zephyr Project. In fact, Professor Yonghua Li from Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications (BUPT), which is a member of both EdgeX and Zephyr, brought a few of his students along so they could discuss how they are using the EdgeX framework and the Zephyr RTOS in their IoT solutions. You can read more about their work in this blog post.

Another one of the speakers was Huaqiao Zhang from VMware (pictured below) speaking about the EdgeX UI he recently contributed to the project. This will be released with the Delhi release in October. Check out the roadmap.

For those not keeping up on all the EdgeX Foundry news, the Industrial Internet Consortium, (IIC) recently announced the formation of the first Optimizing Manufacturing Processes by AI (OMPAI) testbed and it will be led by Wanxiang Group out of China. Read the blog post here.

China is a global leader in machine-to-machine (M2M) technology, which allows devices to wirelessly exchange information and execute tasks. M2M connections can communicate in various ways, including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and cellular. Interoperability is an important piece to this puzzle and I think that’s why there was so much interest in EdgeX Foundry in China. We hope to continue working with our members in China like VMware and the Wanxiang Group to coordinate more meetups and continue spreading awareness for EdgeX Foundry through WeChat. If you would like to be added to the EdgeX Foundry WeChat group, please email info@edgexfoundry.org with your WeChat ID.

Next on the Agenda: Tokyo

While in Japan visiting with a number of Dell Technologies customers, I had the pleasure of presenting at a Tokyo EdgeX Foundry Meetup.  Around 50 people were at this event – making it the most well attended EdgeX Meetup at which I have had the pleasure to present. Even more impressive was the fact that more than half my audience had been up since 3 am that morning to watch the Japanese national team in elimination round of the 2018 World Cup!  Interest in IoT is palatable in Japan – especially for use in the manufacturing sector.

 

The desire to learn more about edge computing and EdgeX Foundry was considerable from the Tokyo IoT crowd with the Q&A portion of my talk lasting almost as long as the talk itself.  The Q&A discussion even spilled over into a great drink/appetizer social afterwards. It was truly an engaging group and a fun afternoon.

Questions from this community included:

-Why did EdgeX chose Go? Because of its multi-platform support, ability to compile to a native executable and run small/fast and its concurrency model among other reasons

– Is EdgeX Foundry involved in standards work? EdgeX Foundry community members are actively involved with Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC), OpenFog Consortium, IEEE and many other industry and consortia groups and will work to be an implementation of edge standards we think are beneficial to the space, but we are not trying to get EdgeX to be a standard.

– Are EdgeX and Edgecross related projects? The Edgecross Consortium is a Japanese-based organization that is currently working on a Windows-based edge platform that members of our community continue to have discussions with, but there is no relation between the two projects today.

Next year, The Linux Foundation announced LC3 will simply be called Open Source Summit China, which will be held in Shanghai. If you’re interested in IoT, open source and more, put the Open Source Summit China or Open Source Summit Japan on your conference list.  I don’t think you’ll be disappointed in what you’ll see and learn there.

If you have questions or comments, visit the EdgeX Rocket.Chat and share your thoughts in the #community channel.

Michael Hall Joins EdgeX Foundry

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Written by Michael Hall, Project Evangelist and Developer Advocate for EdgeX Foundry

This week, I began a new chapter in my career by joining The Linux Foundation as a developer advocate and community manager for the EdgeX Foundry, an open platform for IoT edge computing.

I started using open source before I even knew what it was. Perl was my first programming language, and so installing libraries from CPAN became a routine task (as well as a routine challenge on SunOS). I posted my first open source code on SourceForge soon after, still thinking of it as a way for hobbyists to share their hobby, but not as something serious developers or companies would do. I still remember the feeling I had when Netscape announced that the next version of their browser, Netscape Navigator 5, would be released as open source. As a web developer in the late 90’s, Netscape was the killer app, the king of the hill, the virtual monopoly that was leaps and bounds ahead of IE4. For them to release their source code in a way that let other people see it, copy it, even improve on it, was revolutionary. And it changed forever the way I thought about open source.

Of course, anyone who lived through those turbulent times knows how that Netscape 5 story actually turned out, not because it was open source but because of business decisions and buyouts (thanks AOL!) that kept pulling the development one way and then the other. But my own journey into open source was much more straight forward. I dove in completely, releasing everything I could under an open license, using as much openly licensed software as possible. I bought (yes bought) my first copy of Linux from Best Buy in 1999, and switched my desktop permanently in 2006 when Canonical mailed me a free CD of Dapper Drake. Five years later I would join Canonical myself, and eventually land on the Community Team where I was building new communities and growing existing ones around Ubuntu and all its upstreams and downstreams. Last year, I was doing the same at Endless Computers, bringing the benefits of open technology to users in some of the most remote and disconnected parts of the world.

So, having the opportunity to join the Linux Foundation is a dream come true for me. I’ve seen first-hand how collaboration on common technology leads to more and better innovation across the board, and that is the core idea behind the Linux Foundation.

I’m excited to be joining EdgeX Foundry, which will play a crucial role in developing the way the rapidly expanding number of IoT devices are going to connect and communicate with the already massive cloud ecosystem. I will be working to improve the way new developers get started using and contributing to EdgeX Foundry, as well as teaching new organizations about the benefits of working together to solve this difficult but shared problem. I look forward to bringing my past experiences in desktop, mobile and cloud developer communities into the IoT space, and working with developers across the world to build a vibrant and welcoming community at the network edge.

Follow me at @mhall119  and stayed tuned at @EdgeXFoundry for more. Or, if you have questions or comments, visit the EdgeX Rocket.Chat and share your thoughts in the #community channel.

University Students Leverage EdgeX Foundry and Zephyr OS in New Projects

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Written by Professor Yonghua Li with Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications (BUPT) and active EdgeX Foundry and Zephyr Project member

The Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications (BUPT) recently became new members of EdgeX Foundry and the Zephyr Project but students studied both projects long before then. In fact, students are currently working on IoT projects that are based on these open source technologies.

The first project uses the EdgeX platform (using the Java micro services) running on a Raspberry Pi. EdgeX Foundry core, supporting and export micro service artifacts were created in Eclipse using Java Maven.  Docker containers were created around the micro service artifacts and deployed to the Pi running Ubuntu 16.04 Linux using Docker Compose. In addition to the EdgeX export, core, and supporting micro services, the students choose to build and deploy an MQTT based device service to ingest sensor data into EdgeX which utilized CloudMQTT as the underlying broker.

For this project, the students used a random number generator to simulate sensor data on the Pi.  The simulated sensor data was passed in with an MQTT messages through the device service (again utilizing CloudMQTT) while receipt messages were sent back out from the device service through another MQTT pipe.  Because of CloudMQTT’s WebSocket user interface, students could easily view the JSON-wrapped random number data enter EdgeX as well as be acknowledged by EdgeX – demonstrating the successful establishment of an IoT edge platform.

EdgeX Foundry uses the random number as messages through the MQTT Microservice, passes it to CloudMQTT, and receives the response again through the MQTT Microservice. CloudMQTT’s WebSocket UI allows you to view JSON random number data and send data to EdgeX, demonstrating the successful establishment of it.

The other project aims to develop a Bluetooth-enabled heart rate monitor based on Zephyr OS, which is ideal for resource-constrained systems and small IoT devices. The system implements heart rate measurement for users and transmits the user’s heart rate data to user’s mobile phone via Bluetooth, so that users can monitor his or her heart rate in real-time.

The system is mainly divided into two parts: hardware and software. The main functions of the hardware is data collection, data transmission and data display. The hardware is designed and implemented centered on the Arduino101 development board. On the other hand, the software is mainly used for data conversion and analysis. The development and implementation of software are performed under Zephyr OS.

If you’d like to learn more about the BUPT student projects, we invite you to join the IoT Meetup on Tuesday, June 26 from 6-9 pm at VMware’s office in China. There is no cost for this event but space is limited, so RSVP is required. Register now https://www.bagevent.com/event/1491965   

If you have questions or comments, visit the EdgeX Rocket.Chat and share your thoughts in the #community channel.

IIC announces 1st OMPAI testbed based on EdgeX Foundry

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Written by Jijun Ma, Member of the EdgeX Foundry Governing Board and Industrial Internet Director at Wanxiang Group

The Industrial Internet Consortium® (IIC) announced the Optimizing Manufacturing Processes by Artificial Intelligence (OMPAI) testbed yesterday. The OMPAI testbed is led by IIC members Wanxiang Group (also a member of EdgeX Foundry) and Thingswise and supported by Dell EMC (a founding member of EdgeX Foundry), Xilinx, China Unicom, and China Academy of Information and Communication Technology (CAICT).

The OMPAI testbed, which is the first testbed based on EdgeX edge computing platform, explores the application of artificial intelligence (AI) and industrial internet technologies, deployed from the edge to the cloud, to optimize automotive manufacturing processes. It also seeks to create an ecosystem that will foster the exchange of IT/AI/OT domain knowledge and the co-development of smart manufacturing applications. For example, deep learning may be able to improve quality assurance of an automobile part to substantially increase the detection of defects and reduce the need for manual inspection.

Vincent Wang, Chief Innovation Officer of Wanxiang Holdings, said, “As a leading multinational corporation in automotive and renewable energy, with factories in Europe, North America and Asia, we believe that an industrial IoT platform will be a key enabler for our digital transformation and global synergy. We are glad to work with technology leaders to validate AI, edge-cloud collaborative computers, and high-speed cellular networks to optimize manufacturing productivity and quality. This is the first step toward an open, inclusive IIoT platform on which we will continue with further testbeds, incorporating new ideas, new data usage models and creating greater value add. We invite worldwide enterprises, innovators and entrepreneurs to enrich the ecosystem together.”

In the edge platform, AI models and edge applications are run for the local optimization of manufacturing processes. In the cloud platform, they are run to enable global and long-term optimization, e.g. across production lines and plants. The edge platform also supports connectivity to and data collection from the equipment while the cloud enables historical data accumulation and storage and supports AI model building.

The cloud computing platform also provides the capability for enabling industrial app DevOps processes supporting collaboration between AI/IT developers and plant engineers in creating, testing and running data/AI model-driven industrial applications. The following image shows the solution overview of this testbed.

Blow are the usage scenarios in our testbed.

Machine vision on-line quality assurance

The main theme of this scenario is to exploit the capability of deep learning in image pattern recognition to improve quality assurance effectiveness and efficiency by increasing defect detection accuracy, reducing dependence on manual inspection and at the end providing online feedback to the production process to reduce defect rate.

Battery Cell Welding Quality Control

In this scenario, it is going to use historical data to analyze the relationship between the welding process and environmental parameters and the product quality and use that to predict in real time quality product and provide recommendation for optimization.

Wheel Bearing Production Line Balance & Optimization

A high throughput discrete manufacturing line usually consists of many workstations involving with various equipment and processes. These workstations may have different production throughput that vary depending on their process parameters. Mismatched throughput between the workstations would impede the overall production line throughput, reducing overall equipment utilization and production capacity.

Big data analytics on data collected from the workstation equipment can be used to monitor production pace of each of the workstations and overall throughput, and to identify bottlenecks and recommend optimization solutions.

Predictive Maintenance of grinding machines

In a manufacturing environment, equipment failures interrupt production lines or cause product quality issues, aggravated by the prevailing condition that few or no spare parts are usually kept for key equipment, e.g., grinding machines and motors, resulting severe reduction of production capacity in the event of equipment failures.

The current solution of “preventive maintenance” relying on periodic manual inspection is ineffective, laborious and interruptive to production. Predictive Maintenance for the equipment enabled by machine learning will be experimented within the general framework to effectively address this common manufacturing issue.

This testbed is open to new innovative ideas and EdgeX Foundry members are welcomed to join us to widely use EdgeX for industrial internet solution.

If you have questions or comments, visit the EdgeX Rocket.Chat and share your thoughts in the #community channel.

Another Great F2F TSC Meeting

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Written by Keith Steele, CEO of IOTech and EdgeX Foundry Board Member and the Chair of the Technical Steering Committee

Last week, we held a Face-to-Face Technical Steering Committee meeting in Palo Alto. It was another successful one and, after each meeting, my confidence grows that the EdgeX Foundry project will achieve great things.

Before reflecting on the week, I’d like to pass on my thanks on behalf of the community to VMware who hosted the event at their wonderful Palo Alto facility. California Burritos from their cool on-site restaurant was a culinary discovery for me!

EdgeX Foundry passed our one-year birthday in April, so from the EdgeX Charter standpoint, we now move from ‘start up’ phase to ‘steady state.’

While the term ‘steady state’ in the Project Charter refers to a transition to TSC members being voted from the contributing community, it’s a bit of a misnomer when you look at the project activity. This F2F TSC meeting demonstrated that EdgeX is far from static as it grew in attendance when compared to the last F2F meeting. More than 40 people showed up in person from all 4 corners of the world and many more joined by phone. We’re still very much in growth phase…

Elections were held for the TSC and we welcome new Working Group chairs Steve Osselton (Device Services, from IOTech), Trevor Conn (Core, from Dell) and David Ferriera (Security, from ForgeRock). Likewise, we thank Salim AbiEzzi, Doug Gardner and Tony Espy for their contributions on the TSC over the past year, all three will remain active participants in the project going forward.

So, on to the meeting…

The main discussion for the meeting was the status of the California Release, which is projected for early July and the roadmap for the Delhi release due in October.

Here’s a short list of what was scoped for the Delhi release:

  • Device Service SDKs in Go and C will be previewed this summer and formally released with Delhi (including some representative device services).
  • Performance targets for EdgeX are already being hit, but performance testing as part of the continuous integration and release process will be incorporated.
  • Support for binary data to be processed by EdgeX for the first time to allow for carrying video images, audio data, and the like.
  • The initial system management functionality will include an API for the management of the micro services and an agent to coordinate with other application/cloud infrastructure.
  • Refactored services to incorporate better isolation to allow for future replacement of infrastructure elements such as the local persistent store or message infrastructure.
  • The addition of an EdgeX UI which will be previewed this summer but officially released with Delhi.
  • Research and design on a new Application Services layer to replace the existing Export Services layer of EdgeX will be published with plans to have implemented with the Edinburgh release (scheduled for April 2019).

Research and recommendations on options for the placement of MongoDB as the included reference database will also be announced with Delhi with the intention of offering changes by Edinburgh release.

I was really impressed with the level of collaboration and cooperation at the meeting as there was fabulous participation from all. If you couldn’t make it, this is a timely reminder that EdgeX Foundry is an open project and the recordings of the meeting can be found here.

One thing we did at this meeting, which I thought worked well, was we held a separate Face-to-Face meeting for the Device Working Group prior to the main meeting. Doing this enabled much deeper technical collaboration on important issues before the main meeting. I think this is something we should formalize into our meeting structure across all groups in future meetings.

Additionally, Samsung sought support for updating the project positioning and received it from the TSC. The suggestion is to avoid branding that suggests EdgeX as a strictly industrial IoT platform, especially since EdgeX can be used in much broader IoT solutions to include enterprise, consumer and mobile edge environments. While we will continue to strive to make the platform suitable for industrial workloads, the project will begin to ensure EdgeX Foundry marketing and literature addresses its broader capabilities.

This will certainly lead to a growth in the scope of the Vertical Working Group activity but market positioning was referred to the EdgeX Marketing group with TSC input provided.

The next F2F TSC meeting will be held in my home town of Edinburgh on October 23-24. You can register here and find more information available on the EdgeX Wiki.

We look forward to collaborating with you there!!

Best Regards,

Keith Steele, TSC Chair

If you have questions or comments, visit the EdgeX Rocket.Chat and share your thoughts in the #community channel.

Opportunities at the Intersection of Industry 4.0 and the Edge of the Industrial IoT

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The integration of physical industrial equipment and machinery with software defines Industry 4.0.

The intersection of Industry 4.0 with the Industrial IoT (IIoT) adds sensors, connectivity, cloud, applications, big data and analytics, and intelligent systems, brings to life real time automation and management across dispersed deployments. This is where real business value is being created.

The instrumentation of machinery using software has changed the nature of manufacturing. It has led to the redesign of production lines and the rethinking of the role of humans as large enterprises continue to look for ways to improve yields, ensure safety, and to save money leading to higher profit margins.

For things to run like clockwork in the manufacturing plants and factories, it’s critical to look at strategy systematically, and build hyper-intelligent capabilities that will provide sustainable improvements.

A big challenge in rolling out the combination of Industry 4.0 and the networks required to fully manifest the opportunity to “command and control” massive and multiple factories with fewer people and more predictable, positive results is getting all the moving parts to move together.

Mastering the intelligent machines is important and great progress is being made there every day. Machines are rolling off their own product lines and legacy machines are being retrofit with sensors to extend the ROI without having to rip and replace. The connectivity of these intelligent machines, including ones from different vendors, integrating software from different control systems, and securing the sessions against cyberterrorism or other attacks is a challenge. It can be very expensive with a lot of “hidden risks” if not architected and implemented wisely.

Controlling the edge of massive intelligent machines so they can be efficiently and securely registered to a private network to send data into cloud applications – where does that data becomes actionable? This may be the hardest part of all, which is why so many companies, including government agencies and critical infrastructure providers, are coming together to orchestrate standard approaches, through open source and other initiatives including EdgeX Foundry.

EdgeX Foundry is an important enabler for interested parties to freely collaborate on open and interoperable IoT solutions built using existing connectivity standards combined with their own proprietary innovations.

Last year, EdgeX Foundry formed an alliance with the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) given a shared vision for a highly organized and efficient development effort at the intersection of Industry 4.0 and the IIoT. The two groups work in parallel to bring top companies and organizations together to address fragmentation in two fast growing areas, to make development, testing and commercialization go faster, with less risk in service of the holy grail: commercialization.

It’s an extraordinary and balanced relationship. IIC has successfully built a healthy, active community spanning the entire world of the Industrial Internet, while the EdgeX community has remained 100% focused on solving for challenges at the edge.

EdgeX Foundry is busy working to solve for everything from security (not easy when there are potentially millions of endpoints, including multiple sensor types on the same machine), speed (compute at the edge is different from compute in the core or cloud), and sustainability (long battery life, ruggedized form factors). Additionally, above all else, economics (the edge usually brings with it a subscription business model, and with growing numbers of end-points, the related dollars can add up fast).

Beyond the basics, EdgeX Foundry is also a creative community. The members look to innovate beyond just monitoring and measuring and predictive maintenance.  Essentially, they look at one-way polling into more sophisticated applications that include “remote control,” “automated resets,” and “over-the-air updates,” which is dragging Industry 4.0 into the world of real time communications.

Being able to control millions of machines, or a smaller number of machines with mission critical functions and being able to do securely is money for enterprises and governments. When mundane tasks can be done better by software than people who may be less effective and make more mistakes than a well-designed system that runs beautifully.

This is already seen in the telecom world, where networks have moved to virtualized functions and virtual machines have taken the place of traditional bespoke hardware. The administration of those networks has become easier and far less expensive with automation built in.

We will continue to see massive improvements and cost savings when Industry 4.0 becomes more pervasive. This will only happen, however, when the community comes together to work through all the moving parts, literally, and forge partnerships that enable all the contributors to a given system to build and maintain systems coherently.

IIC and EdgeX Foundry are pioneering together, and are tackling everything from open, human machine interfaces and visualization technologies, business driven smart factory applications, analytics, artificial intelligence, security innovations including blockchain technologies, secure APIs for software and networking, augmented reality for field service, and so much more.

Together with the IIC, EdgeX is rolling forward under a common vision, that no longer will vendor specific or proprietary systems be acceptable, and that creating the environment for open interoperability between connected systems, networks and machines is an imperative.